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New Jersey Passes Two Bills Aimed at Porn Shops

TRENTON – [Politics NJ.com] The State Assembly Monday passed a two-bill package Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt [pictured] and Assemblymen Louis D. Greenwald and John F. McKeon sponsored to protect children and neighboring property owners in communities with sexually oriented business.

“Adult sexually oriented businesses may have first-amendment rights, but that doesn’t give them carte blanche to exploit children or erode the property values of nearby homeowners,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “We need to provide property owners and communities with all possible tools to keep porn shops and other adult-oriented businesses in check.”

The two bills in the package were crafted by Lampitt and Greenwald in the wake of a Union County businessman’s plans to convert a vacant building along Route 70 in Cherry Hill into a store selling adult videos and sex toys. The vacant building abuts a residential neighborhood. Meanwhile, McKeon signed onto the measure in response to a community-oriented fight over an adult bookstore that opened along Route 46 in Fairfield Township, Essex County, last year.

The first bill (A-3692) would authorize municipalities to adopt ordinances for regulating and licensing sexually oriented businesses.

The bill would further require municipalities to provide an adult crossing guard, police officer or private security guard at each school, school bus stop or child care center located up to 3,000 feet of a sexually oriented business during times when children are likely to be outside their homes and while the businesses are in operation. The bill allows these sentry costs to be passed onto the applicable sexually oriented businesses.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t bear the costs of ensuring that children don’t get exploited by porn peddlers and other adult-oriented business,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “The operators of sexually oriented businesses should shoulder the costs.”

The measure would build upon current law that already bars sexually oriented businesses within 1,000 feet of any house of worship, elementary or high school, school bus stop, hospital, child-care center, recreational area, or another existing sexually oriented business.

“New Jersey needs safe neighborhoods, not porn zones,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “Porn peddlers should take heed that we are going to explore every avenue to help families protect children, their neighborhoods, and their home investments.”

A second measure (A-3693) would impose tougher zoning and community notification requirements for sexually oriented businesses before starting operations. Under this bill, sexually oriented businesses would no longer be a permitted use in any zoning or use district, except for a district specially designated for sale, distribution, rental or exhibition of obscene materials. Variances could be granted only after a public hearing with notification provided to all property owners within 3,000 feet of the proposed sexually oriented business.

The lawmakers said they anticipate that both measures will be aggressively opposed by the porn industry.

“We know we are in for a fight, but we need to get the message across to these businesses that they are not going to run roughshod over our communities,” said Lampitt.

The first measure (A-3692) was passed by the Assembly 75 to 1 with four abstentions. The second measure (A-3693) passed 77 to 1 with two abstentions. Both measures now go to the Senate for further consideration.

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